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Drink driver with no licence decided to take car home after failing to get taxi

A Latvian national who could not get a taxi was caught drink-driving without a licence, a court has heard.

Janis Matvejevs, 29, of Ty Ross Gardens, Armagh, appeared at city Magistrates’ on Tuesday charged with drink driving, without licence and having no insurance.

The incident occurred at around 3.30 am on January 21, this year, when police on patrol in the vicinity
of Ty Ross Gardens spotted a Volkswagon Bora crossing white lines and turning without using indicators.

The court heard that officers stopped the car and smelt a strong smell of alcohol from the defendant.

Matvejevs failed a preliminary breath test at the roadside and then informed police that he had no licence or insurance.

At Lurgan Custody Suite two readings were taken from the defendant with the lowest being 85mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence counsel told the court that Matvejevs had lived in this country for 12 years, had no record and during that time had been in “constant employment”.

Court also heard that he had never owned a car or had a licence whilst in Northern Ireland.

The defence explained that on the night in question Matvejevs had been at a friend’s house and had been drinking.

The car had belonged to the defendant’s, which he had offered to sell to him.

Matvejevs had stopped drinking at around 1am, and when he failed to get a taxi home he “foolishly drove himself”.

District Judge Paul Copeland stated that the “public was at risk and this was only aggravated by the defendant being an unqualified driver”.

Matvejevs was sentenced to five months suspended for two years, disqualified from driving for four years and fined £500 to be paid within 10 weeks. He was also ordered to pay an offender’s levy of £15.

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